Balingian: ‘Historic’ voter turnout, says EC


(FMT) – Balingian by-election has chalked history with a record voter turnout of 60% as at noon today.

Election Commission chief Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said 8,014 of the 13,233 registered voters had cast their votes until then

Comparing the turnout to the recently concluded Kajang by-election, Aziz said: “In the Kajang by-election until 12 afternoon we only had 40 percent voters who cast their votes but in Balingian by-election by 11am, 53 percent or 7,085 voters have cast their votes. This is history.

“If this continues we are confident that when the polling centres close we will achieve our target of 80 percent turnout of voters,” he told reporters here.

He also said that there was no untoward incidents reported in the 21 polling centres in the constituency and that the election process was smooth and peaceful.

“In all my years as the EC chief, I have never seen such a peaceful polling process. There are no crowds of jeering supporters or provocateurs.

“People are casting their votes in peace,” he said.

He said polling centres have staggered closing times and he urged voters not to miss the deadlines.

Barisan Nasional has been concerned about the turnout rate as by-elections have historically seen poor voter showing.

But the morning’s trend has left EC and BN officials upbeat.

BN believes a good voter turnout will be favourable to them and could result in a ‘overwhelming’ majority victory.

The EC is expected to announce the results of the by-election before 9pm today.

The by-election is a straight fight between BN’s Yussibnosh Balo and PKR candidate Abdul Jalil Bujang.

The seat fell vacant after former chief minister Taib Mahmud stepped down on Feb 28 to take up the post of Sarawak Governor March 1.

Taib has held the seat since 2001.

A total of 13,366 voters are eligible to cast their votes. The Melanau and Malay communities comprise the majority at 7,705 or 57.65% of voters. The Iban community comprise 3,875 (28.99%), Chinese, 1,683 (12.59%), Orang Ulu, 29 (0.22%), Bidayuh, 19 (0.14%) and other races, 55 (0.41%) voters.